Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Girardi, Pineda, Bullpen Blow the Sanchez Show

The Yankees should have won last night's series opener in Seattle against the Mariners. After all, they got what should have been enough runs.

But they sure didn't get enough pitching. Michael Pineda started, and the Yankees gave him a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the 4th inning, thanks to home runs by rookie sensation Gary Sanchez and Starlin Castro. But Pineda couldn't hold it, and the inning ended 3-2 Mariners.

The rest of the game was essentially a rerun. In the top of the 6th, the Yankees retook the lead, thanks to home runs by Sanchez and Castro. Sanchez already has 8 home runs in the brief time he's been up, Castro 17 in this 1st season as a Yankee.

But, again, Pineda couldn't hold it. The leadoff batter in the bottom of the 6th was former Yankee Robinson Cano, and he singled. Pineda got Nelson Cruz to pop up, but he walked Kyle Seager to put the tying runs on base.

Joe Girardi did the right thing, and took Pineda out of the game. But then he did some serious Joe Girardi-ing: He brought Tommy Layne in to pitch to Adam Lind, and it worked: Lind popped up, and the infield fly rule was called. Layne got the out.

But instead of leaving Layne in to pitch to the next batter, Mike Zunino, he took Layne out, in favor of Anthony Swarzak. Why? Because Layne and Linda are both lefthanded, and Zunino and Swarzak are both righthanded.

Any manager who uses his brain would have left Layne in. But Girardi uses that damned binder of his, and with a full count, Zunino crushed a home run to right field, turning 5-3 Yankees into 6-5 Mariners.

I could blame Swarzak, but the truth is that Swarzak wouldn't have been in there if Girardi had a goddamned clue! He doesn't!

The game was essentially over right there. The Mariners tacked another run on in the 8th, to make the final Mariners 7, Yankees 5. WP: Nick Vincent (3-3). SV: Edwin Diaz (10). LP: Swarzak (1-2).

The series continues tonight, though without much point for the Yankees, as Girardi (and general manager Brian Cashman) have thrown a decent shot at the Playoffs away. CC Sabathia starts for the Yankees tonight, Taijuan Walker for the M's.

*

In other baseball news, the Texas Rangers dumped Josh Hamilton for the 2nd time today. From 2008 to 2011, he was a great redemption story. But his relapses with alcohol and cocaine from 2012 onward, coupled with his injuries from 2014 onward and his infamous performance with the Los Angeles Angels in the 2014 American League Division Series against the Kansas City Royals, have tarnished him, perhaps to the point of no return.

He was the hero (but not the winner) of the 2008 Home Run Derby at the old Yankee Stadium, and the AL Most Valuable Player in 2010, powering the Rangers past the Yankees in the AL Championship Series, partly due to Girardi trusting the pathetic Boone Logan in not 1 but 2 lefty-on-lefty situations that resulted in long home runs.

Now, he has a .290 lifetime batting average, and exactly 200 home runs. He didn't reach the major leagues until he was 26, was a star from 27 to 32, and, at 35, may well be done.
People, especially in sports, love to give a fallen hero a second chance. They tend not to give a third. It goes from, "You disappointed us, but we still have faith in you" to, "You let us down. Again. Just go away, already! We don't want to see you anymore!"

Unless, of course, you're Alex Rodriguez. Some Yankee Fans would like to give him yet another chance.

There is a difference here, though: The drugs Josh Hamilton has been ingesting are most definitely not enhancing his performance.

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